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May 20, 2013

Rangers' Colby Lewis wants more velocity after rehab start

FRISCO -- Colby Lewis learned in his second rehab start from flexor-tendon surgery that he's not yet able to get big-league pitchers out, and isn't sure how long it will take to get to that point.

The Texas Rangers' Opening Day starter in 2012 threw 47 pitches and allowed two runs in 2 1/3 innings Monday for Double A Frisco. It was his first start since a case of triceps tendinitis flared up, and he said neither was an issue at Dr Pepper Ballpark.

But arm strength is a concern. Lewis' velocity topped out at 87 mph on the scoreboard radar gun, but he was mostly at 85-86 mph. His slider showed good bite on a pair of strikeouts, but he tried to throw mostly fastballs to help build up stamina in his arm.

"Just go out there, try to get reps, try to get to where you know you can get a big-league hitter out. Right now, in my mind, I don't feel like I can do that," Lewis said. "I definitely need more reps. Eight-five to 86 isn't going to cut it, not for me anyway. Hopefully, the next start I can generate some more arm strength and get my velocity back where I wanted it to be."

Lewis' goal it to be at 88-91 mph before he takes a big-league mound. He feels like he can locate his pitches, but he isn't throwing hard enough to get away with any mistakes.

He retired the first six he faced before surrendering a solo homer to open the third. He retired the second hitter, but was removed after allowing a double and two singles to three straight San Antonio hitters.

A trainer visited Lewis in the third inning, but only to get a gauge on how he was feeling. Physically, he said, he felt like any other pitcher who is on a rehab assignment.

"I feel like I'm on a roller coaster sometimes; it feels good one day and feels bad the next," Lewis said. "Maybe that's just age in this game."

Rangers manager Ron Washington has said that Lewis will join the rotation as soon as he is ready. Entering Monday, Lewis thought he would need only two more starts before he could be ready for a major-league game, but wasn't so sure afterward.

His goal is to return before the All-Star break.

Matt Harrison (back surgery) and Alexi Ogando (biceps tendinitis) are on the disabled list, though Ogando is expected to be out only 15 days while Harrison won't be ready until August. Justin Grimm replaced Harrison, and Josh Lindblom was to make his first major-league start in place of Ogando on Monday night.

-- Jeff Wilson





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